On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

Christmas day was only two days ahead of us and the Mountaintop Eagle staff was finishing our New Years edition late last week. Mountaintop had snow and icy conditions last week, especially in yards and on driveways that froze over. The weather predictions were for temperatures moderating for Christmas week into he upper 30’s in Mountaintop and upper 40s in New York. Travelling was to be relatively safe.

With the cold seasonal temperatures here to stay for at least the next two months, we’ve got plenty of opportunity to wear those warm sweaters and coats. Lara enjoys knitting and has made me several fashion scarves and hats, which are perfect for bundling up to enjoy an outside walk.

The deer are running through the woods, standing by the sides of roads and occasionally crossing as I travel Mountaintop roads. We need to be alert and watch for them. Colliding with a deer is not a good thing for them or the car.

We are here on the last week of 2016 ready to remember all the good things from the year and look forward to the increasing light of the New Year. I am thankful for many blessings in 2016, especially the health and happiness of family and friends. Charlie and I just spent the Christmas holiday with the Dicus family in Brooklyn and most of the Grubert family on Christmas day at Christine and Luke Pototschnik’s home in Larchmont, NY. We had a possible 45 invited to the Grubert Family Christmas, but some members enjoyed the day with other branches of their families. Christine and Luke’s home offered a delightful spot for everybody to catch up on news. Each attending child got one gift in a scaled down exchange. My own grandchildren got a myriad of toys and other items from their wish lists.

My daughter Amy once again made a came up with a “Mema and Papa 2016” book of photos from throughout the year of all of our six grandchildren. I simply asked for photos of the children and with the wonders of the online photo service Shutterfly; we now have another delightful pictorial. With the wonders of Facebook we can see all of the grandchildren frequently, wherever they are.

Christmas Musings Our four-day Christmas holiday

offered a variety of events. Arriving in time for Christmas Eve preparations we all joined in the cookie baking and decorating tradition. 13-year-old Patrick declared that the day after Christmas was his favorite day. He did concede that Christmas Eve was pretty special too.

We attended the 5 p. m. Mass at St. Augustine’s Church in Park Slope, where the Dicus children led the procession into Mass. Patrick Dicus once again carried Baby Jesus up and placed him in the manger. The children were the bell ringers and the beautiful gothic style church adorned with green wreathes and poinsettias reminded me of a smaller version of St. Patrick’s cathedral.

Christmas Eve dinner was our traditional homemade tomato sauce with meatballs and sausage over pasta prepared lovingly earlier in the day by Mark Dicus.

The children left out the cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer, especially 8 year old Maggie. It wouldn’t be long now before the special gifts would appear under the tree and next to the fireplace.

Christmas morning dawned early for the children one by one the Mom, Dad, Mema and Papa reported for gift opening downstairs. Some were surprises and others were yearned for requests that brightened many a face. Some were electronic, others the printed word, and still others things we could wear.

Next up was Christmas breakfast including the Dicus family Parker House Coffee Cake, eggs and pancakes. I finished making my roasted summer squash and beet side dish for the family dinner later in the day. My harvest of winter squash from my garden gave me more than enough for the 40 or so people celebrating the Grubert Christmas.

The day after Christmas we took time for a walk in Prospect Park and the Dicus children enjoyed a fun skate at the ice rink. Many tourists enjoy a visit to the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, which I too have enjoyed many times since moving to New York almost 50 years ago to attend Fordham University in the Bronx. I don’t go every year, but the tree with thousands of lights offers visitors a brilliant New York tradition.

It’s always nice to relax after the hustle of the holiday has passed. Kate Dicus celebrates her 12th birthday on Wednesday December 28.

The days are thankfully getting longer and sun is rising on the horizon. Our new President-Elect Trump has vigorously worked on his cabinet and staff appointments in the 6 weeks since his election. The stock market had enjoyed an 1800 plus point surge as we end the year. We have positive signs that the economy will grow with tax cuts, deregulation, and a new foreign policy. It has been a long slow stretch since those dark days in 2008 when the US economy tanked. The dark days are behind us. 2017 is going to be a year to remember!